It was another exciting week for the Experience: AIDS exhibit, celebrating World AIDS Day last week in Long Beach, CA. We partnered with the Call2All Global Congress to advocate and educate future missionaries and their partners on the realities of HIV and AIDS around the world.  The conference was attended by current, future, and hopeful missionaries not only from the United States, but around the world.  It was a chance to share wisdom, opportunities and resources in reaching the world for Christ!

It was exciting to see peers on a “mission,” or on a mission to find the “mission.”  Ready, willing and open to whatever missions opportunity the Lord had prepared for them.  In life, many of us spend years searching for the right avenue to seek the Lord and the work that He has.  For our staff members, that’s the exciting part of World Vision.  Our mission is clear, to build a better world for children.

This is how we see it: to come along side and equip those in need to meet their needs, allowing them to look up, see Jesus, live in faith and be loved.  Meeting the physical, social, and spiritual needs of children and families around the world through child sponsorship is the passion of World Vision.  Collectively, through many different avenues, the “mission” is being carried out on a daily basis throughout the world.  From Burma to India, Brazil to Kenya, the Dominican Republic to Indonesia: life is being spread through simple “mission” partnerships.

During our time at Call2All, great conversation was made around “mission,” being Christ to those who need Him most.  We had a special time in Long Beach, stretching the exhibit to a new level, engaging with a whole new audience, and being apart of equipping the saints.  We wish all our new friends God’s faithful mercies in their new adventures, and extend many thank you’s for the lives of those changed last week through sponsorship!

The “mission” is ahead of us!  Keep running the race that is marked. God is our faithful partner running with us, pushing us to help meet the needs of millions around the world.

Partnering in the journey,

Dean, Kristin, Ange, and Trooper

Through the partnership of three churches, the Cornerstone Church, River Valley Christian Fellowship and Calvary Bible Church, Step into Africa was hosted!

Already, the Cornerstone church had partnered with World Vision in a community called Marafa in Kenya. Their existing relationship was already strong, but they wanted to take it farther and show their congregation a bit about the needs of their community and to deepen the relationship by sponsoring more children in the Marafa community.

The event was kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony, where the Mayor of Bourbonnais came and gave a short speech and officially opened up the event. Local media was present and we had a strong presence the first day opening.

Throughout the week, people learned about how AIDS affects communities like Marafa and how they could get involved in helping those who need care and compassion. Cornerstone church sacrificed their own sanctuary to host the exhibit and had their services outside!

Marafa was definitely assisted in this time and since it is part of the region that is suffering from the Horn of Africa famine, the need to help them was that much more increased. We created a Horn of Africa stall special for this site to give people an option to help those in the region.

Many children got sponsored this week — praise God!  It was great to see a strong partnership amongst these three churches and to have them walk together in partnering with Marafa.

Big thank you to the planning teams and the Bourbonnais community. Next stop Austin!

Sadly, it has come to an end of another great week for the World Vision Experience. We got to spend our week between Yosemite National Park and the Sequoias in the wonderful city of Fresno, CA. The week started off when our large truck was noticed at a local truck stop, and some people ran up and got all excited to see the exhibit coming to their town.  Apparently our 54-ft trailer is famous!

This was a fun-filled week of youth groups, school groups, Bible studies and a whole lot more. Not only were we able to bring help to many kids in Swaziland (through child sponsorship) but also had two special guest from Swaziland visit the World Vision Experience.  They traveled all this way to help answer questions about the communities that World Vision works alongside, and to thank churches that have been giving support (read more about World Vision’s work in Swaziland here.)  We didn’t only work with one church but eight churches in the community that have come together to bring hope to a community on the other side of the world.

But like every good thing, this week had to come to an end and this one came just like it started.  A gathering of new and old friends, around a family dinner, at the local Dog House Diner.

Next stop: Orlando, FL!  Click here for more info, and make sure to pass it along to all your Florida friends!

— Trooper

Galatians 5:13, “The entire law is summed up in one command: Love your neighbor as yourself”

In Galatians, when Paul urges the believers to take care of others in love, he expressed so much compassion that he compared it to a law. What if it was a crime to not love, when so much love is required? That turns my mind to a new vantage point and demonstration of understanding compassion.

We just completed another Experience: AIDS week in Cincinnati. The gracious hosts, from Vineyard Community Church, created a unique environment surrounding the exhibit. Our week coincided with SOS, or Summer of Service, an outreach event drawing at least one thousand kids from across the states (even from Ireland and the Netherlands), in one place to minister to the greater Cincinnati community. A week full of intense activity focused on serving; To show love.

What a privilege to see God’s hand at work in different lives daily, opening these kids heart to embrace the sometimes harsh reality of today. I was encouraged specifically for the hearts these young people were longing for, to be aching to help people, then acting upon it, and wanting to do it again, and again.

Each SOS attendee was able to visit the exhibit, along with the general public.  Another great opportunity to share worldwide opportunities to get involved, while allowing Cincinnati to be a training ground for the heart.

Through all, may the Lord be honored by the work done by these kids, by the lives of folks who sponsored children, and by the folks who walked through saying ‘I need to do something.’ May SOS be an around the clock phenomenon, used by the Lord to spread His message through love.

And Lord, thank you for the opportunity to be involved, we are grateful.

Have a safe holiday, next stop: Tacoma, WA!

-dean

This last week we had the privilege of venturing south to Dallas and joining Park Cities Baptist Church to host The Experience at Southern Methodist UniversityThe Experience was held in a tent on campus, which withstood pouring rain, high wind, sunshine, and even snow!  Quite a lot of crazy weather!

A highlight from the site was having a volunteer share their faith while handing out tickets to The Experience.  The person they were sharing their faith with, is now a new sister in Christ!  Another family had been praying about adopting a child for some time.  The door had not been opened for them to adopt, but they were able to sponsor a hope child and were very happy to give a brother to their two girls through sponsorship, instead of through adoption.

We also had a place in the Marketplace for students to learn about the Gulu Children of War Rehabilitation Center, and ACT:S — the World Vision Activism Network for college students.  It was great to see students get involved!

Thank you to PCBC for hosting The Experience at SMU, we had a great time!  Next stop: Hopkinton, MA!

— Michelle

We had a great week with some incredible people in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The Church in Mountain Home is a representation of numerous churches within the Mountain Home area that all partnered to host the Experience. It was such a blessing to work alongside so many different congregations in being a voice for these children. This entire community is incredibly engaged with World Vision and many families within the area have had the chance to go over to Kenya and meet their sponsored children. We had such a great time hearing these stories and looking at the pictures of the work World Vision is doing through sponsors like you all! It is such a joy to hear the first-hand stories of those that have gotten the chance to hug their sponsored children, have seen the wells built through your donations and have seen the children and families whose lives have been transformed through sponsorship.

The community is hosting a Marathon in November to raise money for Kenya. If you happen to find yourself in the Mountain Home area November 21st be a part of the incredible work this community is doing and show your support!